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Sep 4, 2019

Stas's Story

For many of us, summer break is over and we are back from our vacations to attend school or go to work.  Some may already be planning their next holiday.  Travel is not only fun, but it's genuinely good for our health and wellbeing.  We hope that all of our supporters had a great time this summer!    

Cancer patients, however, travel for different reasons.  Most often it's to access medical expertise and level of care unavailable close to home.  Sometimes, it's the doctors themselves who tell the patients to try their luck elsewhere, where the resources and possibilities are not as limited.  Ability to accept patients at a short notice is another factor, or having no visa requirements that delay travel plans.  A lot of times, it's the word of mouth, a recommendation from a friend or another patient.  In the former Soviet Union, most patients tend to go to Israel, Germany or Turkey for treatment when no further treatment options exist at home.

Stas, a 14-year old from Ukraine, is one such patient.  In early 2017 he had surgery to remove a tumor.  Local doctors determined it to be benign and Stas had no further treatment.  In March 2019 Stas began having stomachaches and went to see doctors again.  He was referred for comprehensive evaluation, and the scans showed multiple lesions in his lymph nodes.  These were metastases from cancer that was previously misdiagnosed as benign tumor.  Two of the lesions were removed during biopsy, but another one was deemed unoperable.  The doctors had a hard time determining the type of cancer, and Stas’s family decided to take him abroad for further diagnostics and treatment. 

The family flew to Israel where Stas was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a type of rare solid tumor.  The doctors are giving Stas a good prognosis, but the treatment is costly.  Stas's ability to remain on treatment depends on the kindness of strangers.  He already had surgery that removed all visible metastases, but he still needs to stay in Israel and complete 5 cycles of chemotherapy and 30 radiation sessions, to be followed by maintenance chemotherapy for another year.  

Your donation will ensure that patients like Stas have access to quality cancer care abroad.  It is an unfortunate reality that there is a significant gap in patient outcomes in developed countries and the former Soviet Union.  Traveling abroad allows patients with rare cancers to bridge that gap and improve their chances to beat cancer. 

Thank you for your support!  

Aug 5, 2019

Little by Little

Cancer diagnosis carries with it the weght of worry and confusion, choices and decisions, disruption and delays. It is also very costly.  Almost 40% of patients deplete their life savings as a result of the diagnosis.  Your support is vital to the patients and in many cases it's the only way they can afford the necessary medications. 

Most recently, we used your donations to help Gulnara from Tajikistan.  Since 2012 she has been battling breast cancer.  Letrozole is a medicine often prescribed to keep women like her from recurrence, but it is not available in Tajikistan.  Her family has to purchase it abroad and pay for it out of their own pocket.  Without our help, they would not have been able to afford it. 

And it's small donations that enable us to help patients like Gulnara.  Donations of up to $25 make up 65% of total donations we receive, while those of $26-$50 comprise additional 20%.  Small donations are our foundation - without them we would crumble and fall.  We want you to know that we are grateful for donations of any size.  What matters to us is your support and dedication to helping cancer patients. 

If you would like to take advantage of a bonus to your donation, Little by Little Campaign week returns on Monday, August 12th!  This campaign celebrates the mighty power of small donations.  A 60% match on any donation of $50 or less will be given for as long as the bonus funds last.  In addition, bonus prizes for most money raised and most unique donors will be available.

That's not all - all new recurring donors will get an additional 100% match on their initial donation as long as it remains active for a minimum of four payments.

Thanks again and hope you join us the week of August 12th

Jul 16, 2019

Calling in the big guns!

The Independence Day fireworks may be over, but the excitement continues to build!  A few days ago, GlobalGiving announced that they will offer one of the largest bonus prizes in their history for their bonus day on July 18th (starting 9 am ET or 16:00 Moscow time).  A total of $250,000 in matching funds plus $10,000 in additional prizes will be offered that day.  

Donations will be matched based on amount:

  • Donations $100 - $499 USD will be matched at 15%
  • Donations of $500 - $749 USD will be matched at 30%
  • Donations of $750 - $1,000 USD will be matched at 50%

If you are financially comfortable, we encourage you to donate at the top of your ability.  The more you give - the higher bonus you will earn for the cancer patients.  

Donations of less than $100 will not be matched this time.  However, another bonus day is coming up the week of August 12th that will celebrate our small but mighty donors and award bonuses on donations of up to $50.  Save the date!

Our partner, Advita fund in St. Petersburg does incredible work supporting patients in need of bone marrow transplants.  During summer they often run low on funds, as many of their supporters leave town on vacations and postpone their giving.  These bonus days in July and August will give us an opportunity to close this gap and ensure all patients in need are able to access bone marrow donors in foreign registries.  

Unfortunately, most of cancer patients in Russia require some level of financial support.  Particularly for leukemia patients,  imported new medications and searches for bone marrow donors abroad are very costly and not covered by government-sponsored healthcare.  Even patients in their prime earning age are often unable to afford lifesaving drugs and procedures.  

One of our recent beneficiaries, Alexei, is a young man from Crimea.  He got sick suddenly in fall of 2014: his backaches were getting progressively worse until he was hospitalized and diagnosed with acute leukemia.  He underwent lengthy treatment, but  relapsed in August 2018.  Bone marrow transplant is Alexei's chance for cure, but he did not match any of the potential donors in the Russian registry and needed to expand his search abroad.  Alexei was unable to afford the services of the German registry, but thanks to your support we were able to cover the cost of the search.  On June 28th Alexei received stem cell transplant and is now recovering.

Thank you for supporting Alexei and many other patients like him!  We are so grateful to have you as our donor.  We hope we can count on you to join us during one of the bonus days and help even more patients.

Have a great summer!

Alexei
Alexei
 
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